Troy Vincent, the NFL's head of football operations, said his department is prepared to make recommendations for a developmental league or in-season academy. The league will begin the formal process of meeting with the Competition Committee, coaches and NFLPA after the season.
Vincent has long been among those staunchly supporting the need for additional practice and/or games for young NFL players, and also as a means to further develop coaches and referees.
Vincent's charge has been to put forth proposals he believes owners ultimately would be willing to support financially and otherwise, as a considerable per-team investment may be necessary.
This particularly holds true for a spring league that would consist of players likely with three years' or less experience.
Vincent also has done exhaustive studies of creating an in season academy that would train a valuable talent base-players not under contract who get workouts and jobs through the season-that would run from final cuts until November. He has consulted with existing academies and is considering options of having more than one official NFL in-season academy around the country. Vincent declined to comment on specific options he will present to the Competition Committee and coaches, but sources indicated they are both in-season and out of season in nature.
We have some viable potential options that are ready to share with the Competition Committee, the coaches subcommittee and with some of our active and former players. "Our goal is to create a platform that addresses the entire football community-coaches,officials, front office personnel and players--.
Given the overtly positive remarks I've received from owners on down when asking about the need for a developmental league, and the current climate and amount of time Vincent and his charges have spent on the topic, I would expect some action to be taken on it in 2017, perhaps as soon as the spring meeting.
A sampling of thought on the subject
Cowboys owner Stephen Jones " It is a concept that could check all those boxes we often talk about- diversity,officiating,developing coaches,player development, experimenting with rules and technology.
Steelers owner Art Rooney II: " it's something we have to really look at and address, whether it's a spring league or some other way.
Saints coach Sean Payton:" One in which the club can call on it any time to infuse a player into their roster midstream, and just as importantly, clubs can call on employees other than players, there are a number of things it gives you.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh:' John Madden has got me convinced that it would be great for football,it would be great for the game of football.
Jason La Canfora